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Unveiling Vertical State Downscaling: Identity and/or the Economy?

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  • Joan Costa-i-Font

Abstract

State rescaling may take a variety of shapes although scant research has been carried out into the mechanisms and economic incentives that underpin rescaling processes. This paper identifies and measures the effect of two broad state downscaling mechanisms, namely the development of regional identity - operating at the cultural level and proxing preference heterogeneity-, and the heterogeneity in levels of economic development; influencing the extent of regional redistribution. Firstly, we empirically examine our claim at an aggregate level using evidence from Catalonia and the Basque Country, to examine the evolution of sub-state identity and the rise of inter-territorial fiscal grievances - weakening intraregional economic solidarity. Secondly, we estimate how the combination of widening sub-national identity and regional redistribution strengthens support for vertical state downscaling. Findings suggest an expansion of spatial identities in both Catalonia and the Basque Country since the early 1980’s. Ending regional fiscal solidarity it is found to increase the average income of Catalonia and the Basque Country by 37% and 17% respectively. Although we find evidence of elite driven support for state downscaling, the effect of regional identity on downscaling support exceeds that of regional redistribution in the magnitude of one to seven.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics / European Institute in its series Europe in Question Discussion Paper Series of the London School of Economics (LEQs) with number 0.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:erp:leqsxx:p0020

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Web page: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/europeanInstitute

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Keywords: regional policy; regions; decentralisation; Spain;

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  1. Ellingsen, Tore, 1998. "Externalities vs internalities: a model of political integration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 251-268, May.
  2. Richard Bird & Andrey Tarasov, 2002. "Closing the Gap: Fiscal Imbalaces and Intergovernmental Transfers in Developed Federations," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0202, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
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  7. Wittman, Donald, 1991. "Nations and States: Mergers and Acquisitions; Dissolutions and Divorce," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 126-29, May.
  8. Casella, Alessandra & Frey, Bruno, 1992. "Federalism and clubs : Towards an economic theory of overlapping political jurisdictions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 639-646, April.
  9. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Isabelle Joumard & Per Mathis Kongsrud, 2003. "Fiscal Relations across Government Levels," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 375, OECD Publishing.
  11. Mikel G�mez Uranga & Goio Etxebarria, 2000. "Panorama of the Basque Country and its Competence for Self-Government," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(4), pages 521-535, August.
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